D-Day plus 68 years

Wednesday - 6/6/2012, 2:00am EDT

My father, an Indianapolis boy, grew up very poor. His father was a sharecropper (literally) in Kentucky before migrating to the big city. He couldn't do the grandfatherly thing and read nursery rhymes to me because he could never find his spectacles. Also, I learned later, couldn't read. Like a lot of people of his time and place his legal signature was "X" (his mark) and a signed witness.

My father — I never really got to know him — joined the Army shortly after Pearl Harbor. He served in the South Pacific, New Guinea and other hot, steamy, deadly spots. So did his brother. He never got to see me graduate from high school or learn to shave properly (a work still in progress). Or teach me how to throw a curve ball. Or meet his grandchildren.

My mother's three brothers also served. One was a Navy officer, patrolling the Atlantic off the North Carolina and Virginia coasts. They were hunting German U-boats which, in one six-month period, sunk almost 400 U.S (mostly merchant) ships. That's a lot of ships. Most people at the time had no idea the beating we were taking. The other brothers were in the Army, in the Pacific. Okinawa and the Philippines. Places like that. Maybe you heard of them.

All of them were preparing for an invasion of the Japanese home islands when the atomic bombs were dropped.

In the Pacific theater, as it was called, the invasion of Normandy was of interest. But people were also preoccupied with places like Iwo Jima and Tarawa and Midway. American troops had been in Italy for sometime before D-day. Ask a vet about Anzio or Sicily. But D-day — the invasion of France — has always had a special place in history.

My mother's long-time boyfriend (a sort of father to me) was a coal-miner from Shamokin, Pa. He and his brother, in the same unit (29th division), landed into Normandy on D-Day plus one. They went into Omaha beach. Nor a good place to be. That was after being rescued by a Canadian corvette after their troop ship was sunk by a German submarine in the English channel.

All of the above are gone now. Some a long time ago, some in the past couple of years.

For this special day, hardly a "holiday" and hard on the heels of Memorial Day, it's a good time to remember what they all did, even if we can't begin to understand what they went through.

What next for feds

Is Congress going to extend the pay freeze? Will feds have to pay more for and get less in retirement benefits? What about a new round of buyouts in the postal service? Are their furloughs in the wind. And what about those GSA bonuses? Today at 10 a.m., we'll try to get some answers from experts Joseph A. Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees, and Stephen Losey and Sean Reilly of the Federal Times.

Listen if you can (1500 AM or online), and if you have questions email them to me at mcausey@federalnewsradio.com or call in during the show at (202) 465-3080. The show will be archived here.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

By Jack Moore

Ever heard of "Mountain Yeller," "Citrus Sling" or "Orange Plunge?"

If you have, you could be an inveterate bargain-shopper. Those are all the names of store-brand sodas, according to Mental Floss. Take the quiz and see how well you know your "Clear Delight" from your "Bubba Cola"


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